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In the March 2010  edition of Populer  Mechanics; faster,lighter,Space Engines on page 20; a propulsion physicist at NASA said that there might be a break through other folks are not even looking for. I think I might have found something. It is called," The acceleration of moving objects." If an object is moving on a track , and the track is being accelerated at the same time, it would take more force to accelerate the track. If this is true , then what ever the track accelerated from would go backward with a greater force then if the object was standing still.  And when the track is decelerated in relation to the object that it accelerated from , there is more force left over in one direction . All that is left is to return the object back to the beginning  of the track and start again. Of course the force used to accelerate the object on the track in the beginning  and decelerate the object at the end  would cancel each other out. It is like pushing and pulling your self through space. Another example would be a long truck that has a safe in the back . As the truck starts accelerating from  0 to 60 MPH , the safe is moved from the back to the front at a constant speed in relation to the truck. Would it take more force to accelerate the truck if the safe were moving? One possible way to prove this would be to shake a hydraulic cylinder back and forth while the cylinder is extended at the same time . Every action has an equal and opposite  reaction , so what would be the difference  between the cylinder moving out or in while it is being  shaken. My question is , would this work as an engine?  I look forward to your response . Maybe our flying  cars are not impossible after all. My name is Richard William McCauley   ,My address is 402  County Rte 64. Shushan ,N.Y. 12873.  Tel. .   E-mail. Address is  

Answer
This changes no physics in how engines work, and is not a well-considered option.  This, in fact, really introduces no new physics to the situation.  Don't worry, I gave it a full read and thought about it.  However, nothing new has been presented here that in any way affects current methods of space travel.  

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

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I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

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I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

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Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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